European Union (EU) law (Gender Equality Recast Directive 2006/54/EC) aims to ensure that men and women are treated equally regarding their access to jobs and training. There should be no discrimination in employment and occupation due to gender. EU law also aims to prevent the less favourable treatment of women related to pregnancy and maternity leave.


EU legislation also (Directive 92/85/EEC) covers pregnant workers, workers who have recently given birth and women who are breastfeeding, to make sure that their health and safety are protected. Under the rules all women are entitled to maternity leave for an uninterrupted period of at least 14 weeks before and/or after delivery and they may not be obliged to work at night during their pregnancy and for a period after they gave birth.


Each EU country determines the rules on social security provisions. You can find more information about the pension rights, unemployment benefits, maternity and paternity benefits and other social security rights in each EU country here.


Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions contains information and publications on maternity leave (including country-specific information).


If you feel discriminated against on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender, you may contact the National Equality Body in your country.


These websites are available in all official EU languages